Somewhere in Maryland. It’s an eerie feeling, cycling in the woods, far from civilization. You could die out here and nobody would know for days until your income taxes were late.
The newspaper story would read, “Cyclist tries to fend off copperhead with tennis shoe and dies.”
My wife and I have been doing this remote trail together, but somehow we got split up this afternoon. I don’t know how I lost her. I know she’s biking ahead of me somewhere, but I haven’t seen her in a mile. I’m starting to get worried, thinking about all this copperhead business. I hate snakes.
This trail is full of fatal snake stories. You hear idle chatter from fellow hikers retelling tales about how some hapless soul once got snakebitten on the face by a copperhead while trying to take the snake’s picture.
There are a million chilling tales like this circulating around the trail.
So your senses get very heightened while you’re out here. Which isn’t a bad thing, actually. It’s exhilarating. It makes snacks taste better. Your vision gets
sharper. Scenery seems more intense.
After another few minutes, I see my wife in the distance. I am relieved to finally find her. She has stopped on the trail, straddling her bike, waiting for me. Her tiny black silhouette is far away against a cloudy sky. A canopy of oaks drape over her. She doesn’t see me yet.
This woman has been with me for nearly two decades. Sometimes it still feels like we just met last Tuesday.
Oh, how I wish time would slow down.
I’ve been thinking about some deep stuff in the woods this afternoon. It’s easy to do that in this space. It’s probably because you’re always staring at ancient trees that will outlive everyone’s great-great-great grandkids.
And you’re looking at towering volcanic prehistoric rocks that just sit here undisturbed. You think about how these rocks will…